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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys,

I'm a long-time reader, first time poster on mtbr. I'm excited to start in on the sport you all love, mountain biking. I'm looking to buy my first bike, and I need help from some experienced riders on what to spent my money on. Here's a little info:

-I used to ride bmx and motocross when I was younger, so I've been on something with 2 wheels for a long time. I'm an avid hiker and have always wanted to get into MTB, but never had the money to get into it. (I envy every one of you who rides by my and kicks up some dust. haha)

-I'm 6'2'' and about 215 lbs.

-My budget is about $1,000, and I'm primarily looking to buy used (depending on your advice)

-I would prefer a full-suspension bike with hydraulic discs, but I would compromise for a hardtail.

-What I had in mind was something that was well-maintained and no more than about 3 years old.

So here's where I need your guidance. Being that I'm pretty tall and looking to do XC, what size frame should I get? I was thinking a Large (19" - 20"). Do you all think buying a used bike is the best way to go on a first ride, and is there somewhere better than Craig's List to be looking? What exactly should I be looking for?

I'm sure there's all kinds of things I'm missing and not asking, so feel free to inform me. I'm here to learn and, with your help, make sure I spend my money wisely.

Thanks in advance for your help.




P.S. Admins- Sorry for the double-post but I thought this was more relevant in this section.
 

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I think you could find a really good HT new from your LBS for $1k. You will of course get a better deal on craigslist depending on what you find (a lot of times people drop the price $50 below msrp and post on craigslist). I would go to a bike shop, ride some bikes and see what feels right. You will get more bike if you go with a HT though, keep that in mind. Maybe look at a 29er?
 

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Stay Focused

I would probably narrow it down to about four to five bikes unless something really interesting was on craigslist. Why not stay with for example Specialized Epic, Stumpjumper and Giant Anthem and Trance? I think at 602 you should probably be looking at 21 inch bikes although if you have a short torso and long legs like maybe 34-36 inseam the 19 inch bike might work. You could start by nailing the sized down at your local Giant and Specialized shops. When shopping on craigslist dont expect to find the right bike within 10 miles. You might have to travel up to 100 miles to find the right bike and SIZE.

Heres a list of bikes that would work for you.

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/bik/1841998775.html

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/bik/1837526637.html

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/esd/bik/1831156541.html

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/bik/1840974566.html

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/esd/bik/1835697164.html

The GF Hi-Fi has a Fox fork and with the Genesis geometry would probably be a pretty decent fit in 19 inches. I like Stumpjumpers a little better. The GF with the carbon frame would be a pretty decent bike and the price looks good if you wanted to break the bank.
 

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borregokid made some good recommendations. If you decide on a ht 29er, this looks like a very solid (not great) bike at a fair price. http://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/bik/1837313043.html

Something to take into consideration is that you are going to need some accessories. I don't know whether you have factored that into your budget. Things like a helmet, pump, shock pump, shoes, shorts, hydration pack, chain tool, extra tubes, car rack ..... add up in a hurry.
 

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Heres a Giant Anthem that is a 20" size. It might be sold but I mention it because the Anthem I think along with the 20" Trance might be the best fit. I like the Anthem a little bit better though because its lighter than the Trance.
http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/bik/1803451128.html

Heres a Kona Kula hardtail that would be worth taking a look at. It looks pretty decent with a Fox fork. The rear bearing service might cost $40-$50. The size looks to be about 21 inches. When you check on the CL bikes ask the seller how tall he is. Make sure you have the size down and dont be dictated by price. Its close to where you live so I think you should check it out.

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/bik/1841298240.html
 

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you can also look at wheelworld.com and jensonusa.com for bikes within your budget and then go and actually ride them and talk to the LBS to get a better idea of what fits. these will be of lesser spec than buying used but there is also something to ba said about buying new. The last thing that you'd want to do is buy a bike that was abused.
If you can find someone that really knows about bikes you should take them with you when looking at used bikes.
 

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Sounds like you're in pretty good shape, so I'd roll with a 29er hard tail. You're going to get better components and still be comfortable. I always like to buy new, but if you can find a good deal from a private party then that's good too. Just be careful about worn drive train, suspension, and abused frames. Many manufacturers will not let the original buyer transfer the warranty, so you'll have to pay 100% for anything that breaks.

For $1000 there are a few really good choices from the big manufacturers. But if you can assemble a bike, and don't mind dealing with a company over the internet, BikesDirect.com is a good option. For that price range, they really offer a few great bikes. And I DO own one of their bikes, although not as nice as the Fantom Pro SL. It's been a solid ride and I've taken it everywhere and ridden it hard.

Motobecane Fantom Pro SL - $995
- Rockshox Reba SL w/ PopLoc
- Deore front/XTR Rear Deraillers w/ XT Shifters
- Avid Elixir Hydraulic discs w/ 185mm rotors

Good reviews: http://www.outdoorreview.com/cat/bikes/29er/motobecane/PRD_450350_1548crx.aspx

Couple of threads here on MTBR about the bike:
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=584624
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=633197&highlight=fantom+pro+sl
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all of the help guys. I'm planning on visiting my LBS this weekend to gain a knowledge of the feel of a lot of different bikes. That way, if I do end up going through a private party, I'll know how that bike feels in relative to others that I've test-ridden.

@borregokid: Thanks for looking into some options for me. Those bikes are all very nice. However, I'n not ready to buy just yet. I'm about a month out, but doing my research a little ahead of time. If I had the cash in hand, I would definitely go check out the GF HIFI (not carbon). It looks like exactly what I want.

@mnigro: I checked out wheelworld.com and there are some really good deals on there and I like the way the site is set up. Once I'm serious about buying, I might see if I can't find one or two of those bikes at a LBS to test ride them.

@TwoHeads: Why do you prefer 29rs? From my understanding, choosing a 29r is a preference based thing, and as of right now, I kinda have my heart set on FS because a lot of the trails around me have rocky soil and I think I'll like the feel of FS better. Even though it may be a little more maintenance...

What else should I know before buying my first bike? I really appreciate all of your information.
 

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Tyler, I was referring to you actually driving up to wheelworld and jensonusa in order to ride some of those bikes. Both of those online stores also have locations where you can test ride the bikes, etc.
It is a bit of a drive from San Diego but on a nice Sat morning it shouldn't be too bad.
 

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i know i'm in the minority here, but why not buy a new one for $1000? that's a handsome sum of money. a trek cobia runs for that price. it has x5 shifters, fd, and x7 rd. it has hydraulic disc brakes. tubeless ready wheels. strong frame backed by excellent warranty. the rockshox recon 29er solo air sounds nice too but honestly i don't know much about forks. x5 may not have the bling of an x9 or x0 but it shifts like butter (i have used x5 and own deore).

with no warranty, if something ever happens, that's a big sum of money in the mud. i never pay a lot of money for something with no warranty. if it's worth so much, it should be backed up (i realize this is not possible with second hand).

warranty is the second biggest factor to me. the most important, by far, is FIT! FIT! FIT! FIT! right now i'm doing shopping like you and i outright tell the LBS the only thing i want to talk about is fit. you will perform much better on a nicely fitted bike than one with blingier components. if it doesn't fit you perfectly, your back and hands will hurt and even though you want to pedal harder and longer you can't. the advantage of buying a new bike at an lbs is that a trained professional will put you on a trainer (a good bike shop) and fit your properly for free with the purchase of a new bike. big advantage imo! i've heard people talk about spending $50 and it being worth every penny for the right fit

so what to look for in fit? i personally prefer higher up handlebars in mountain biking to keep my weight back. so i'll go for the larger size as long as stand over is not a scary concern. a higher up handlebar + longer ETT is better than a lower handlebar and shorter ETT even if they have the same reach. this is by my preference for comfort and versatility. someone who likes an aggressive position and their weight more forward for climbing may not prefer this.

at 6'2" if you do go gary fisher, you'll probably need a 21". the best way by far, for 29ers, is to go to several LBS's and do test rides and get multiple opinions.

the one bad thing i've anecdotally heard about gary fisher genesis 2 geometry is that the increased rake increases the chance of the front wheel washing out when cornering.

the 29er has a lot of benefits: it's definitely faster than a 26 because it can easily roll over roots and rocks whereas with the 26 you gotta be a little more restrained. without rear suspension, you get weight savings + less maintenance to worry about.

however, you may end up finding that the evolving 29er geometry is not for you. at least right now. in that case go ahead and consider the used second hand full suspension.
 

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Tyler in SD said:
@TwoHeads: Why do you prefer 29rs? From my understanding, choosing a 29r is a preference based thing, and as of right now, I kinda have my heart set on FS because a lot of the trails around me have rocky soil and I think I'll like the feel of FS better. Even though it may be a little more maintenance...

What else should I know before buying my first bike? I really appreciate all of your information.
IMHO, at $1,000 you'll be compromising on a few parts in order to get a full suspension bike. If FS is definitely the way you want to go, then maybe the compromise is worth it. However, I'd rather have a light hardtail with very good components than a heavy full suspension with 'OK' components. It all depends on what YOU prefer, so buy what you like. And as for the 29ers, I much prefer a 29er hardtail to a 26" hardtail. Bigger tire volume means lower pressure (especially with tubeless), it seems to handle better, and maintain speed once rolling. For me, I bought the Cliff 29er because it was the best deal available at that time of all the bikes on Bikesdirect.
 
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